Music was an integral part of the life in the Hormel family. George wrote in his autobiography about the nightly musical entertainment he experienced as a child.
“When I was a little fellow Father bought me a mouth harp which I thought quite grand. Later, I graduated to a harmonica on which I became fairly expert. But as the family grew up, he acquired more sophisticated instruments for our use. My brother Herman played the violin; Susan the guitar; and most of the others learned to play the piano. Everybody sang. And Father, his bearded face wreathed in smiles, joined in the singing, or listened to the lovely old American and European folk songs he loved so well. And Father, his bearded face wreathed in smiles, joined in the singing, or listened to the lovely old American and European folk songs he loved so well."
Lillian Belle Hormel, George's wife, was a music teacher in the Franklin school in Austin when George met her. She was also an organist at the Presbyterian Church.
Several Hormel descendants have had careers in music including Jay C. Hormel's son, George A. Hormel II (Geordie), who founded the Village Recorder in Los Angeles. Smokey Hormel, the Grandson of Jay C. Hormel, currently performs in NYC and has worked with artists such as Adele, Johnny Cash, Beck, and Norah Jones.
MarySue Hormel Harris is the granddaughter of Ben Hormel who was George's youngest brother. An accomplished pianist, MarySue is very interested in preserving the family history of music appreciation. Through a generous annual grant Mrs. Harris has made it possible for the HHH to offer FREE garden concerts and other music programs such as the Harris Piano Competition started in November, 2012. With the funds from MarySue the Grand Piano at the Paramount Theater was purchased in 2012, and along with her sister and cousins, the 1914 Mason and Hamlin Grand that adorns the living room of the Hormel Historic Home was restored.
Although George A. Hormel only attended school through the 6th grade, he developed a strong appreciation for formal education. His father worked hard as a tanner and taught the skills he knew to his sons, but George also knew that learning came from many sources. His entire family was musically talented. He loved to read, especially poetry, and he developed a knack for understanding the economy through his many years on the road as a hide buyer and his work in his Uncle Jacob's meat packing businesses.
The Hormel Historic Home strives to ensure the family's beloved home is used for all kinds of educational programs. Our Autism programming began in 2010 in order to serve a growing portion of our community-youth and families- affected by an autism diagnosis.
History Happy Hour events are sponsored by the Mower County Historical Society, the Hormel Historic Home, and the Austin Public Library. Events give history lovers a chance to socialize and learn at the same time. Various presenters speak on the first Monday of each month about a time or event from the past. Light hors d'oeuvres are served and a cash bar is available. Programs are announced on the HHH Calendar and Home page.
History for Half Pints was started in 2016 to make history come alive for all ages! We offer programs designed with the youngest history lover in mind. Since the children learn through play, we have created learning labs in several rooms to encourage children to take a hands on approach with history.
We also offer educational field trip tour curriculum. If you are a teacher or school district, reach out to our Executive Director to be added to our calendar for field trip experiences!